January Konch Editorial
Now That David Simon Has Been Exposed Will Colleges Stop
Teaching "The Wire?"
In Black Hollywood Chained, an anthology that I edited for Haki Madhubuti, President of Third World Press, Cherokee writer Geary Hobson says that when he was a child at the movies, he cheered for the cowboys. Something similar happened with the response from some blacks to David Simon’s series, “The Corner,” “ Homicide” and “The Wire.” They were cheering for a cliche -ridden and toxic product, which emphasized the depraved aspects of the black experience. Of course, the series projected what filmmaker Jim Brown called “good Negroes,” a media trick that pretends a bogus “balance,” but it was the criminals that excited the audience black and white. The producer, David Simon, is perhaps unaware that the criminalization of the Jewish population in Nazi Germany led to the death camps. January Konch prints an excerpt from Dr.Karl Alexander book, The Long Shadow. He challenges Simon’s depiction of the Baltimore neighborhoods, which Simon views as his profit making territory. Journalist Amy Alexander, who was Simon’s colleague at the Baltimore Sun, said that Simon got all pushed out when another white journalist was assigned to cover the neighborhoods, which Simon considers his own private game preserve. Dr. Alexander is head of the Department of Sociology at John Hopkins University.
While other New York poets succeeded through press agentry, shock and creating themselves as memorable characters, or became members of various schools, the low-keyed A.B. Spellman, an independent, was his school. He wrote a classic book about Jazz called “Four Lives In The Be-Bop Business.” He also published a book of talented and serene poems called “The Beautiful Days.” He then moved to Washington and for years honed his craft without fanfare. As a result, he belongs to the front ranks of American poets and the Van Gogh poems, printed in January Konch are an example of his range. Another writer, who was above the noise and neglected by critics and academics was the excellent playwright, Aishah Rahman. She credits the Black Arts Movement inspiring her to create her groundbreaking plays. For many years, Professor Rahman taught at Brown University. She died in Mexico toward the end of 2014.
Yuri Kageyama, with her epic poem, Fukushima, has earned a place among the leading world poets. This poem proves that the poet as a journalist can expose conditions that are ignored by a media that is in the pocket of fossils fuel and nuclear interests. While black collaborators at MSNBC and other media outlets make money for their employers by promoting and gender and class civil war among blacks, stories about how the Fukushima disaster threatens the health of world citizens is neglected, maybe because General Electric, which still has interests in NBC, built the nuclear reactors at Fukushima. Is the Yuricane making up things? Fukushima has had far worse complications than the Chernobyl
disaster. Check this out:
ABC: ‘Mysterious surge’ in sick marine mammals all along California coast — Infested with parasites, extremely emaciated; “Very seriously ill… in very bad shape” — Experts: “We’re extremely concerned right now” — Deaths up 1,500% at rescue facility — ‘Number mystifies officials’
Unprecedented: ‘Cataclysmic’ die-off of birds on entire West Coast — Beaches covered with dead bodies — Professor: It’s tragic… never seen anything like this… We ignore it at our peril… Canary in the coalmine for us… Scrambling to figure out what’s going on with ecosystem (VIDEOS) »
Engineer: “Outright failures continue to plague Fukushima plant — “Public may think worst is over… Nothing could be further from the truth” — Japan TV: New method failing to stop flow of highly contaminated water — Experts: ‘Diluting’ radiation in ocean adds to danger; Spreading it out only makes health damages worse .”
“Dr. Steve Elwart, professional engineer and expert for Dept. of Homeland Security, Dec 14, 2014 (emphasis added): With most of the media silent about the cleanup, the public may think the worst is over [at Fukushima Daiichi]… Nothing could be further from the truth… [Radioactive water is] leaking out into the ocean, allowing it to spread… around the world through ocean currents [and this has] prompted grave concerns over the impact on sea life in the area and around the world. [Officials] decided to build an “ice wall” around the reactor site… TEPCO conceded defeat and announced the efforts to construct the plug failed… As if things couldn’t get worse, less than two months ago, TEPCO once again came out with an announcement that it was having problems with the ice wall [and] was going to cease operations on the ice wall and pour cement… TEPCO President Naomi Hirose stated officials “will never give up” on the wall…debate continues over how to stop water from leaking into the ocean…outright failures continue to plague the Fukushima cleanup efforts.
NHK Transcript, Dec 26, 2014: TEPCO is still struggling to deal with contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Finally,Howard Kurtz, in a rare admission from a media star, said that Don Imus says what white journalists say in private. This prompted me to begin my “Fly On The Wall” series. My “Fly On The Wall” in this issue reports a scene that took place in a Staten Island bar called The Bad Apple.
Ishmael Reed, editor